Having a good night's sleep is a key contributor to a healthy life.  If you aren't consistently getting the quality seven to nine hours of shut-eye your body needs each night, you'll start to feel the effects on your overall wellbeing.

Seniors aren't exempt from this rule.  For some reason, the myth that we need less sleep as we age continues to circulate.  Just because seniors tend to sleep less hours does not mean they should.

As we age, sufficient sleep http://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/aging-and-sleep becomes even more critical for our health.  If you experience trouble sleeping as much as you should, determine the roadblocks preventing you from getting quality sleep and find ways to eliminate these issues.

Factors interfering with a good night's rest

No one should ever have to sacrifice their sleep, especially the elderly.  Unfortunately, there are many factors that hold seniors back from getting quality sleep.

  1. Frequent nap

Although naps can be beneficial for recharging throughout the day, overdosing on naps can be deterimental to your nightly sleeping patterns.  Especially if a short nap often turns into a deep sleep.

          2.  Pain

Seniors are prone to experience aches and pain. This can cause nighttime interruptions if you can't get comfortable in your sleep.

           3.  Pen-up energy

If you don't expend your energy during the day, it will keep you up at night.  Seniors who are not active may have trouble sleeping through the night if they don't exert enough energy throughout the day.

           4.  Medications

Some medications can affect your sleep quality. Taking too many medications or using multiple medications simultaneously can interfere with your sleep.

            5.  Lower levels of growth hormone

Our bodies growth hormone production slows down as we age.  This makes it more difficult to experience deep sleep because our bodies produce less melatonin (the sleep hormone).

Why sleep is so important for seniors

When we are children, sleep is vital for our growth and development.  When we are older, our sleep plays and important role in sustaining our bodies.

There are many benefits to a good night's sleep:

  • Improved concentration and memory
  • Cell damage repair
  • Stronger immune system
  • Less susceptible to disease
  • Better mental health
  • More energy throughtout the day

Without sufficient sleep, you may experience sleep deprivation.  The risks of sleep deprivation can start out small.  You may have trouble concentration during the day, feel foggy-brained, or have low energy in your daily activities.

If not fixed, sleep deprivaton can lead to devasting effects.  You can suffer from mental health concerns http://www.find-a-therapist.com/articles/show/522 such as depression and anxiety, memory problems, and increased clumsiness. Even more serious health problems can occur from a lack of sleep including increassed risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even forms of cancer.

Older adults shoud take special care to make sure they are getting their best sleep.

How seniors can experience better sleep

If you have experienced trouble sleeping for a long time, don't lose hope.  There are many ways to work on repairing your sleep.

To address the issue of naps interfering with your sleep, eliminate them from your daily routine.  If naps are necessary to getting through the day, be smarter about when you schedule your naps.  Try to take a nap earlier in the day, ideally between 30-45 minutes.

If pain is an issue for your sleep, you may need to find a mattress that makes you more comfortable in your sleep.  A bad mattress can be a contributor to your discomfort, especailly if you already have aches and pains.  Avoid a bed that causes you more pain and look for softer memory foam mattresses which tend to be a better choice for sleepers with back pain https://www.mattressadvisor.com/best-mattresses-back-pain/.

Expending energy is an important part of the day in order to get good rest.  Although your exercise may be modified from the workouts you could do when you were younger, exercise is still important for seniors.  Lightweight aerobic and strength exercises can help you burn your energy off during the day.  Even something as simple as going on walks can help you burn off that extra energy.

The medications you are on can also impair your sleep.  If you think your medications may be the issue, holding you back from sleep, speak with your doctor about adjusting the dosage, switching medications, or determining the best timing for your medications.

Authors's bio:  Laurie Larson is a health freelance writer from Durham, NC.